Is Feta Vegetarian? Rennet & Brands.

Last Updated on September 19, 2023 by Aaron

Feta cheese can be vegetarian, but it’s not always so. The primary concern regarding whether feta (or any cheese) is vegetarian is the source of the rennet used in its production.

Rennet is an enzyme that aids in the coagulation of milk to form curds and whey, a crucial step in cheesemaking. Traditional rennet is derived from the stomach lining of young ruminants, typically calves, which obviously makes it non-vegetarian.

In many countries, the source of the rennet doesn’t have to be specified in detail on the label.

There are vegetarian alternatives to traditional animal rennet, such as microbial rennet (derived from fungi or bacteria) or genetically engineered rennet.

How About Greek Feta?

Traditional feta cheese, especially from Greece, often uses animal-derived rennet. However, there are plenty of feta-style cheeses produced globally that might use vegetarian-friendly coagulants.

In the European Union, “Feta” cheese has been granted a Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status, meaning that only cheeses produced in a traditional way from specific regions of Greece can carry the “Feta” label. Many of these traditional processes involve the use of animal rennet.

Some cheese enthusiasts argue that the type of rennet used can affect the flavor and texture of the cheese.

If you’re shopping outside of Europe, the cheese might be labeled as “Greek-style” or “feta-style” cheese if it’s not PDO-certified, even if it’s made in Greece.

Let’s go through some popular Greek feta brands for vegetarians:

Dodoni’s feta is one of the most internationally recognized Greek brands. They stated to only use vegetarian rennet for their feta product, go website. The other one you can look for is called Kourellas, it is a family-owned Greek dairy brand known for its organic products. They produce feta cheese using vegetarian rennet, visit the website. The brand emphasizes traditional methods combined with modern organic practices.

Kolios Greek Feta is another family-owned company that offers a PDO feta that is widely appreciated. According to their packaging, it is made with microbial rennet. And lastly, not exactly a Greek feta, but Valbreso Feta is known for its French-style feta made from sheep’s milk. The taste and texture are a bit different from the Greek version but still very popular.

You might not know much about the non-dairy version of feta we discussed previously. It’s an easy solution for you!

The Commercial Feta Brands

If a label simply says “enzymes” or “rennet,” and it doesn’t have a clear vegetarian label, it can be challenging to determine the rennet’s origin. One that’s worth mentioning is the President Feta website, has stated not suitable for vegetarians as it contains lipase, which is from animal origin.

The answer to this question depends on the brand of feta you purchase.

One brand of vegan feta cheese is called “Violife”. Violife feta is made with coconut oil and potato starch. It can be found at most grocery stores and online.

No Rennet Needed

Yes, feta can be made without rennet. Rennet is an enzyme that is used to coagulate milk and produce cheese.

There are a few different ways to coagulate milk, and rennet is the most popular option, but it’s not the only one. Some other options include using acids, such as lemon juice or vinegar, or using bacterial cultures that will cause the milk to thicken on its own.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Are all feta cheese made with animals’ rennet?

No, not all feta cheese is made with animal-based rennet. Some feta cheese is made with microbial enzymes.

Is Tesco Feta Cheese vegetarian?

Yes, Tesco’s Feta Cheese is vegetarian. It is made with a microbial enzyme that helps to coagulate the milk and gives the cheese its characteristic crumbly texture.

Is Président Feta cheese vegetarian?

Yes, Président Feta cheese is also a vegetarian cheese.

Is Domino’s feta cheese vegetarian?

Yes, Domino’s feta cheese itself is vegetarian.

Domino’s Pizza Diced Cheese for Pizza is a specially produced cheese made exclusively for our use. It is a natural dairy product, produced from cultured, pasteurized milk, rennet; and salts of calcium and/or sodium. The type of rennet used in the production of this cheese is restricted to a microbial-based rennet or a genetically-engineered rennet. Animal derived rennets will not be allowed.

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According to Business Insider, they now have menu options for vegans and vegetarians too.

Are there any rennet-free feta cheese brands?

Yes, there are a few brands of feta cheese that do not contain animal rennet. Some of these brands include Athenos, Nikos, Odyssey, Valbreso, and Dodoni.

My Thoughts

Some vegetarians may be okay with eating feta cheese that contains rennet from microbial fermentation products.

These products are considered vegetarian-friendly because they do not involve the slaughter of any animals.

However, other vegetarians may avoid eating any food items that contain rennet regardless of its source (microbial fermentation or animal).

If you are a vegetarian who is unsure about whether to eat feta cheese, maybe you can try these feta substitutes!

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